Pop quiz time. Ready?
What is the number one, most valuable resource for coaches and teachers?
c. Post It Notes
And the answer is (I’ll bet you guessed it)…b!! TIME! (although maybe this could have been tied with a)
As you know, we really need every single minute of it to get done everything we need to get done in our busy days.
So there’s nothing worse than when our time is wasted.
And you know what one of the biggest culprits can be? Meaningless Meetings.
Sure, meetings (planning meetings, PD meetings, business related meetings) are an essential part of working in a school. But if run poorly, they can be a huge waste of time.
But good news! As coaches there’s something we can do about this.
We facilitate lots of meetings, so let’s make sure the ones we’re responsible for leading are meaning-FULL, not meaningless.
I thought it might be helpful if I walked you through a case study of what it can look like to put this plan into action.
OK. So earlier this week I facilitated a curriculum planning meeting with our fourth grade team. Here’s how I went about making sure I had all my ducks in a row and the meeting was a meaningful use of this team’s time.
1. Identify Outcomes and Create an Agenda
To help me identify an outcome for our time together that felt supportive to the team, I sent out an email the week prior to meeting with them. After I received their response, I was able to create a purposeful agenda aligned to their needs.
2. Provide Helpful Resources
I always try to think about what resources (books, videos, examples, planning templates, etc.) would support teachers in the work they’re setting out to accomplish. In this particular case, I thought it would be helpful to give them a planning template they could use to help them with the logistics that go into planning a Celebration of Learning.
3. Use Google Docs
In curriculum planning meetings, there’s frequently a good amount of collaborative work and thinking going on. Google Docs/Drive makes it super easy for me to capture this work and share it with the team afterwards.
4. Listen First, Talk Second
I have lots of thoughts and ideas I’m excited to share with teachers in planning meetings. But I zip it up, and listen first. Then I can guide the discussion as needed with follow-up questions or suggestions.
5. Track Time and Keep it Tight
As the facilitator, it’s my role to track time and keep the team’s work on track. Since we only have 45 minutes for these planning meetings, this is super important. Including the estimated amount of time for each part of the agenda helps with this.
6. Identify Next Steps and Follow-Up
Don’t forget to leave 5 minutes at the end of your time to review what was covered and identify next steps. AND set a time/day for when you’ll follow-up.
And BOOM! You’ve got yourself a meaning-FULL meeting.
If you have an upcoming meeting to facilitate, hopefully you can use these tips as a roadmap to get you started and check your work.
Have a question, or maybe a tip I didn’t include? Share it in the comments below.
Enjoy your weekend and I’ll talk to you soon!
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